In a shocking new report on the Washington Post, a woman used an at-home DNA test from Ancestry.com and discovered that she shares the same DNA as one disturbing individual: her parents’ fertility doctor.
When Kelli Rowlette first received those results, though, she didn’t know the man listed as her father — a doctor named Gerald E. Mortimer who lived 500 miles away from her home in Washington state — was the man her parents consulted when they were having problems conceiving. In fact, Rowlette never knew her parents had those problems.
Per the Post:
At the time, Rowlette was not aware that more than 36 years ago, her parents had struggled to conceive.
She did not know her mother had undergone artificial insemination, nor did she — or her parents — know her mother’s fertility doctor had allegedly used his own sperm to get her pregnant with Rowlette.
The Post’s report is based on Rowlette’s lawsuit against Mortimer and Obstetrics and Gynecology Associates of Idaho Falls, in which her family is accusing the practice of medical negligence and fraud. According to the suit, Mortimer diagnosed Rowlette’s parents, Howard Fowler and Sally Ashby, with a low sperm count and a tipped uterus, respectively. Mortimer then recommended that Ashby be inseminated with her husband’s sperm and that of an anonymous donor in 1980.
That “anonymous donor” ended up being Mortimer, and one year later, he delivered his own child.
After receiving her results in July 2017, the lawsuit claims that Rowlette went to her mother to express her “disappointment in the unreliability of the service” and show her the results. Ashby quickly recognized the name and then relayed the information to her ex-husband, who was “devastated.”
But Ashby didn’t tell Rowlette herself. According to the lawsuit, Rowlette made the connection on her own a month later, when she was going through some of her parents’s papers and found her birth certificate, which was signed by her delivering doctor: Mortimer. Since this discovery, everyone in Rowlette’s immediate family has reportedly been extremely distressed.
In a statement provided to the Post, Ancestry.com said, “We are committed to delivering the most accurate results, however with this, people may learn of unexpected connections.”